Laying the groundwork for a great proposal kickoff

You only get one shot at a great proposal kickoff meeting, so make it count. Good kickoff meetings put the controls and processes in place to efficiently produce the proposal and motivate the team. By the end of a good kickoff meeting, participants must clearly understand the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of efficiently developing the proposal and be prepared to start work. Do as much groundwork as possible to prepare for a great kickoff meeting before the RFP release. A comprehensive list of activities you can pick from to accelerate your preparedness follows.

Kickoff meeting preparation tasks

Prepare the kickoff meeting:
  • Agenda
  • Slide template
  • Calendar invitations
  • Physical or virtual meeting space

Proposal planning and execution tasks

Prepare the proposal:
  • Schedule and milestones
  • Assignment list (with a description of roles and responsibilities)
  • Template to acquire/validate questions about the request for proposal (RFP)
  • Plan to identify, assess, and mitigate proposal risk
  • Data call plans and templates
  • Proposal review plans or instructions
  • Proposal production plans or instructions
  • Process for producing and logging graphics
  • Plans and processes for obtaining internal company signoffs
  • Submission plan
  • Incentives, morale boosters, and awards for proposal participants

Administrative tasks

Prepare the following administrative materials:
  • Contact list (with email and phone number information)
  • Out-of-office/vacation/leave list
  • Proposal communications plan and list of meetings
  • Security access and logins for proposal participants, including subcontractors
  • Proposal tool/system training, as needed

Capture/opportunity management tasks

Prepare the capture/opportunity:
  • Win strategy
  • Value proposition(s)
  • Budget of strengths
  • Matrix of strengths against evaluated criteria
  • Proof points for strengths
  • Capture/opportunity plan information
  • Competitor information
  • Teaming partner information

Writing-related tasks

Prepare the following materials needed for writing as time allows:
  • Draft compliance matrix
  • Draft outline
  • Draft executive summary
  • Draft solutions and other content
  • Pre-RFP content (developed during the pre-RFP phase (if any))
  • Draft graphics
  • Resumes
  • Past performance
  • Style sheet and descriptive terminology

Business volume tasks

Prepare the following materials needed for the business volume, which will most likely be discussed in two separate meetings—one for the prime contractor and a second for subcontractors:
  • Business case description
  • Teaming documents
  • Subcontractor documents, including statements of work (SOW)
  • Small business objectives or plan
  • Preliminary rate request or preliminary rate data
  • Spreadsheets
  • Bill of materials (BOM)
  • Other plans or deliverables required in the volume
In summary, the time from when the customer releases the RFP until the kickoff meeting is brief. Therefore, having a full complement of tools, templates, and processes available—combined with your ability to leverage pre-RFP content quickly—will accelerate efficiency. By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.
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Lohfeld Consulting